Passenger numbers double at Birmingham Airport as holiday ban lifted

Passenger numbers have more than doubled at Birmingham Airport as delighted holidaymakers boarded flights for the first time in months.

Holidaymakers Colin Briton and Julie Sarnaz at Birmingham Airport
Holidaymakers Colin Briton and Julie Sarnaz at Birmingham Airport

Around 1,700 passengers were departing the airport on Monday with 40 flights operating on the day the ban on international leisure flights was lifted.

The first day of leisure travel to a handful of Government-approved countries has seen key workers jetting off on beach holidays, Britons reunited with partners abroad, and passengers finally being allowed to fly after facing months of cancellations due to coronavirus.

Nick Barton, chief executive of Birmingham Airport, said the number of passengers was around 1,000 more than the airport had been seeing of late and means its business can start to take off again.

Mr Barton said: “Today is a significant milestone for us at Birmingham Airport, as the ban on international leisure flights is lifted and we are able to welcome back customers on a number of international services recommencing over the coming weeks."

Three flights to Portugal, which is on the quarantine-free green traffic light list, were the first to take off carrying around 250 passengers, with many more arrivals and departures throughout the day.

"With more destinations planned to restart this week, things are certainly moving in the right direction and we are ready to welcome customers back through the airport in a Covid-secure way.

“We’re proud to have achieved a health accreditation from the Airports Council International for our commitment to Covid safety in order to keep all who use the airport safe and secure, which is our highest priority.

Holidaymakers set off on a flight to Portugal from Birmingham Airport

"For passengers that haven’t travelled through an airport for a while, they can expect to see a few familiar Covid measures in place, including social distancing, wearing of face coverings, physical barriers and hand sanitiser stations.

“Starting soon are flights to Gibraltar which is also on the green list, plus Tenerife, Lanzarote, Las Palmas, Malaga, Rhodes, Kos, Crete, Corfu, Zakynthos, and Wroclaw on the amber list which requires home self-isolation on return."

“We advise customers to ensure they understand all of the Government traffic light rules before travelling and have the relevant test and paperwork completed before arriving at the airport.

"We would remind customers that PCR and lateral flow testing is available to pre-book at Birmingham Airport and our website contains the information and links to the relevant Government guidance and information.”

Travel firms have reported a surge in demand for trips to Portugal, after the Government put the country on its green list for travel meaning people travelling from England and Wales will not need to self-isolate on their return, and are only required to take one post-arrival test.

Only a dozen countries and territories are on the green list but most are either remote islands or do not currently allow UK tourists to enter.

Meanwhile Ryanair, which operates flights from Birmingham, reported a full year loss of £702 million as traffic fell 81 percent from 149 million passengers to 27.5 million due to the pandemic.

The Ireland-based budget airline's chief executive Michael O'Leary warned fares will be more expensive in 2022 due to a 25 per cent reduction in the number of available seats than before the pandemic due to airlines reducing their operations.

He is urging people to book very early because he thinks there will be less seats available but this summer there are going to be great travel bargains.

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